Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-193"

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"Mr President, this is a huge change of topic but, if we do not resolve the crisis in Georgia, we will need an even better asylum and refugee policy in Europe. I would like to start by thanking Mrs Lambert for a very thorough report. I also support the amendments tabled by Mrs Roure and Mrs Lefrançois. The Dublin system and the choice of first-country-of-entry for people entering the EU really need to be evaluated, especially regarding the problems this involves for the countries which receive refugees. Here I am thinking of the Mediterranean countries, but also of Sweden, which is the European country which has accepted the largest number of refugees from Iraq. The EU should take greater joint responsibility, otherwise the Dublin Regulation is meaningless. A year ago the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs went on a fact-finding visit to the Mediterranean. The situation was appalling! It was not improved by Sweden starting to send refugees and asylum seekers back to Greece, which had been heavily overburdened for some time. Subsequently, the Group of the European People’s Party and European Democrats in the European Parliament adopted a directive on the return of illegal immigrants which contained inhumane rules, such as deportation after a wait of up to 18 months, which is particularly tough for children. A common European asylum and refugee policy is necessary, but I feel that it is heading in the wrong direction and I am concerned about this. I am worried that we are not accepting and are not prepared to pay more attention to children. However, there is one thing to which we have paid attention and that is Commissioner Barrot’s talk today of a temporary suspension. As a Swede, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight the municipality of Södertälje, south of Stockholm. Södertälje has taken in more refugees from Iraq than the whole of the US and Canada put together! In my view Södertälje must be included in the kind of trial the Commissioner referred to. Thank you."@en1

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